Definition of Common Immigration Terms
Also referred to as I-94 card or document. The Form I-94, "Arrival/Departure Record" is a critical record. It shows that you have been legally admitted to the United States, and specifies the class of admission and the authorized period of stay. It is very important that the information on the record is correct. Inconsistencies between the information on the Form I-94 and Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) records can reduce the chances of a successful systems interface. In particular, this can cause issues with status verification for Social Security numbers.
If you arrive by a land port, you will receive a paper Form I-94. If you arrive at the port of entry by air or sea, an automated Form I-94 record will automatically be generated for you by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers. CBP will provide you with an admission stamp on your passport that is annotated with date of admission, class of admission and admitted-until date. You should print your electronic arrival/departure record from www.cbp.gov/I94.
A person at a port of entry or in the United States, who is unable or unwilling to return to his/her country of nationality or habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Asylee status is granted by USCIS and may be terminated by the Attorney General. For enrollment and pay purposes s/he is treated like an immigrant.
Change of Status without leaving the United States. Application submitted to USCIS on form I-539. If request is approved, a new visa status is granted.
Curricular Practical Training. A training program that is an integral part of an established curriculum. Work authorization is granted by the Designated School Official (International Student Advisor).
Duration of Status F-1 and J-1 students are admitted to the U.S. for the period during which they are pursuing a full course of study at an educational institution approved by USCIS. (Also see "Maintaining Your Student Status" on our website).
Spouse (husband or wife, must be legally married to the student) and unmarried children under the age of 21. Parents of students are NOT dependents.
Designated School Official A regular employee of the university (faculty or staff member), appointed by the school and approved by BCIS, who represents the school in all F-1 matters. Only a DSO may sign an immigration document for the school.
(I-688B) Employment Authorization Document Small, laminated card with photo ID, requested by beneficiary on form I-765 and approved by USCIS. EAD may be given for Optional Practical Training, Economic Hardship, Temporary Employment of spouses in J-2 status and in some other instances.
Small laminated card with photo ID and fingerprint, issued by USCIS for resident aliens. Treated as U.S. citizens for employment, enrollment and payment purposes.
See Admission and Departure Card
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement - A bureau of the Department of Homeland Security, and the investigative and enforcement arm of immigration (formerly INS) and border security. ICE also oversees the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS).
an alien who has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence. Essentially has the same rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen with the exceptions of voting, holding certain public offices and employment by federal agencies in civil service positions.
An alien admitted to the United States for a specific purpose for a temporary stay that will end when its purpose has been accomplished.
a benefit of legal F-1 status. Granted by USCIS based on documents submitted by applicant and school's recommendation. Total length is 12 months, not extendible. May be used during school breaks, for part-time work while school is in session, or after graduation. Work has to be within student's area of study.
An official governmental travel document that certifies the identity and nationality of a person and grants him/her permission to travel abroad (travel to certain countries may be limited).
Port of Entry airport or border where alien is admitted to the United States.
A person outside the United States, who is unable or unwilling to return to his/her country of nationality or habitual residence because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. Asylee status is granted by USCIS and may be terminated by the attorney general.
An F-1 or J-1 student who has overstayed his/her authorized period of stay or otherwise violated his/her student status may be reinstated to lawful F-1/J-1 status by USCIS. Application is made on form I-539 accompanied by supporting documents. Contact the Designated School Official for details.
student For immigration purposes a student who is pursuing a full course of study at the school he or she was last authorized to attend and is otherwise maintaining status is eligible to transfer to another USCIS approved school by following the transfer procedures.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services - Formerly INS, a government agency responsible for the admission, control and status of all aliens in the United States. The immigration regulations are contained in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations. See also ICE - Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
A person born in the United States, or a naturalized citizen, holding a U.S. passport.
A stamp in the passport issued by an American Embassy or Consulate abroad, allowing the holder to request entry to the United States in a certain visa status within the time period specified on the visa. A visa may allow one, two or multiple entries before the expiration date of the visa.
Persons who lawfully entered the United States but who overstayed their period of authorized stay or otherwise violated the terms of their temporary status.
A status granted by USCIS at the port of entry, stamped on the I-94 card, or later granted through a Change of Status request, verified on an approval notice from USCIS, accompanied by a new I-94 card.